p2pnet.net News:- There’s no doubt about Shaw Communications president Peter Bissonnette’s feelings regarding yesterday’s Canadian Federal Court dismissal of Big Music’s attempts to sue Canadian file sharers.
“When we were served by the industry some of the isps wanted to negotiate, to narrow it down, but but we were unequivocal,” he told p2pnet. “We said we were not prepared to compromise. We were told the likelihood of winning was like pushing water uphill. So we were very pleased.
“The music industry was probably relying on what was happening in the States and believed they had a slam-dunk.”
Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruled that putting music into a computer directory that might be shared remotely by someone else doesn’t constitute copyright infringement under Canadian law.
His landmark decision came as the music industry ramps up its multi-front attack against file sharing and file sharers.
The CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association), owned by the Big Five record labels, was demanding a court order to force five Canadian ISPs to hand over the names of 29 people the labels claim were “each illegally distributing hundreds if not thousands of music copyright files to millions of strangers”.
However, “No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorised the reproduction of sound recordings,” von Finckenstein decided. “They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer user(s) via a P2P service.”
He also said the labels had not:
“Made out a prima facie case (their affidavit evidence is deficient, they have not: made a causal link between P2P pseudonyms and IP addresses and they have not made out a prima facie case of infringement),
“Established that the ISPs are the only practical source for the identity of the P2P pseudonyms; and
“Established that the public interest for disclosure outweighs the privacy concerns in light of the age of the data.”
The CRIA says it will appeal the decision but Bissonnette told p2pnet Shaw’s position would remain the same, no matter what: clients would be protected and his company would not back down “under any circumstance”.
The other four ISPs were Telus, Bell Sympatico, Rogers Communications and Videotron.
Like Shaw, three of the four refused to hand their clients’ names over to the Big Five – Universal Music, Warner Music, EMI, Sony Music and Bertelsmann’s BMG.
However, Videotron is based in Quebec and was ready to cooperate.
With more than 430,000 Internet customers, it supplies high-speed cable Internet access throughout the provinced by cable and dial-up modem and is owned by Quebecor Media, which is in turn a Archambault Group subsidiary, Archambault being the largest Quebec-based distributor and retailer of recorded music.
Last November Archambault came out with a radio, tv and newspaper “awareness” project “similar to the RIAA campaign” against p2p file sharing.
In the meanwhile, Canadians should be glad they are where they are.
Across the border, the US House Judiciary intellectual property subcommittee has passed HR 2517, the PDEA (Piracy Deterrence and Education Act) which will in effect have the FBI working for the entertainment industry against file-sharers, among others.